Quotation Foster, Gillian Joanne. 2019. Low-Carbon Futures for Bioethylene in the United States. Energies. 12 (10), 1958




The manufacture of the chemical ethylene, a key ingredient in plastics, currently depends on fossil-fuel-derived carbon and generates significant greenhouse gas emissions. Substituting ethylene’s fossil fuel feedstock with alternatives is important for addressing the challenge of global climate change. This paper compares four scenarios for meeting future ethylene supply under differing societal approaches to climate change based on the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways. The four scenarios use four perspectives: (1) a sustainability-focused pathway that demands a swift transition to a bioeconomy within 30 years; (2) a regional energy-focused pathway that supports broad biomass use; (3) a fossil-fuel development pathway limited to corn grain; and (4) a fossil-fuel development pathway limited to corn grain and corn stover. Each scenario is developed using the latest scientifically informed future feedstock analyses from the 2016 Billion-Ton report interpreted with perspectives on the future of biomass from recent literature. The intent of this research is to examine how social, economic, and ecological changes determining ethylene supply fit within biophysical boundaries. This new approach to the ethylene feedstocks conundrum finds that phasing out fossil fuels as the main source of U.S. ethylene is possible if current cellulosic ethanol production expands.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Energies
Citation Index SCI
Language English
Title Low-Carbon Futures for Bioethylene in the United States
Volume 12
Number 10
Year 2019
Page from 1958
URL https://doi.org/10.3390/en12101958
DOI https://doi.org/10.3390/en12101958
Open Access Y
Open Access Link https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/12/10/1958
JEL 2919,4119


Foster, Gillian Joanne (Former researcher)
Institute for Ecological Economics IN (Details)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
2919 Energy research (Details)
2959 Sustainable development, sustainable economics (Details)
4118 Renewable energy (also energy sources, raw materials) (Details)
4119 Regenerable raw materials (Details)
4924 Sustainable development, sustainable economics (Details)
5368 Sustainable development, sustainable economics (Details)
5912 Social sciences (interdisciplinary) (Details)
5914 Environmental research (Details)
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